My on-line diary began in the 1990's from my studio in the North of England. After a lapse of ten years, I resumed posting from my present studio on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

From the far beginning, the intention has been to give an insight into my working methods, and to share the triumphs, trials and tribulations of work-in-progress.

My diary pages are followed by thousands of artists, art students and art lovers in over 50 countries.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thank you Miss…

As is the lot of many artists, including Rodin and Leonardo da Vinci, I am dyslexic. 

I know that now but no one knew about dyslexia when I was a child.  I could not talk until I was five (my brother claims that I’ve made up for it since) and, until the next to the last year at secondary school, I was invariably the bottom of the class in all subjects but art.   

Incidentally, had there been a way of testing inventiveness, I would have excelled in that too.  When I was nine, I designed and built a model aircraft.  It had a thirty-inch wingspan and flew the length of a football field.

But back to art and the year 1953.  My primary school teacher asked the class to paint a picture of the coronation.  By the time the bell rang, she had thirty-four paintings of the coronation coach.  The thirty-fifth painting  was of a thousand heads all trying to catch a glimpse of the coach, the portrayal of which was left to the imagination. 

(Incidentally, I had to ask Denise how to spell “fifth”. The spell-check could not recognise the spelling that my dyslexic brain came up with.)

The teacher singled me out and told me that if kept on painting like that, one day I could be an artist.  Thank you Miss Ackroyd, you were the first to encourage me.

Here is Miss Ackroyd with her Class of 1953.  I am on the back row, third from the right, not counting the teacher.


  1. And I've been telling people that you were third from the right on the front row for years now!

  2. LOL @ Alan!

    Good for Miss Ackroyd. Our education system focusses far to narrow mindedly on the academic. I wonder if she kept that painting. Was it signed? :)

  3. Thank goodness there are a few teachers like Miss Ackroyd. And she was right.